It's the first day of the Manchester Ideal Home Show at Christmas! Abbie Laughton-Coles and Kristian Dando will be bringing you all the action as it unfolds. Stay tuned, and get involved with the fun using the hashtag #Llandofxmas...
Anticipation is reaching FEVER PITCH as the doors prepare to open at Manchester, readers. We've already spotted our first celeb - consummate dandy Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen is milling around the green room and looks primed for action.
We've had a look about the show and it's looking grand - there's more festive action than you can shake a big, tinsley stick at. We'll need three days to take it all in...
The first visitors are in, and the show is very much kicking off.
The Gocompare.com team are ensconced in our deluxe Lapland lodge, and will be on hand to answer your questions, show you how to play our super Falling Bills game and much more.
Around the hall, we've already spotted some awesome stuff that we'll be taking a closer look at in due course. We're hearing reports of free kitchen roll being handed out in the cooking demo zone, so we'll be going to investigate that shortly...
We follow our noses which take us to the Christmas food and drink theatre, where droll Yorkshire chef Brian Turner takes to the stage to whip up some delightful turkey meatballs.
He's cooking to a packed audience, who are hanging on his every word. The food smells so delicious that we're practically drooling, so it's useful that the theatre is sponsored by a kitchen roll company who have left free samples on the seats.
Turner masters the art of cooking while speaking and delivers handy soupcons of information to those watching, including "butter's good for you", "pretend to be French and use some wine" and "big tip for you - if you don't like ginger… don't put it in."
We wander off to peruse the hall as Turner asks who watches his show 'Taste of Britain'. Two people thrust their hands into the air. He throws them a kitchen roll sample for their troubles.
Maybe it’s because it’s nearly lunchtime, but we’ve got food on the mind.
One of the coolest grub-related things we’ve seen so far is this, the Diablo.
In essence, it’s a bit like a hob-top toastie maker, but to call it that would probably be doing it a disservice.
It makes these delicious mini pie/pizza/toastie things which you can fill with whatever your heart desires. The cheese, rocket and tomato ones we sampled were delightful, but we imagine they’d accommodate the curry sauce which is being sold opposite brilliantly too.
It's the moment everyone has been waiting for - we're back at the Christmas food and drink theatre to watch Gino D'Acampo.
A huge crowd has gathered and people have taken to sitting on the floor and peering through Christmas trees to catch a glimpse of the Italian at work. You can hardly move for bodies craning their necks for a look.
The temperature begins to rise as it's announced he will be taking to the stage shortly, show magazines are being used to fan red faces and a buzz of anticipation settles on the crowd.
After checking backstage the theatre's host welcomes Gino to the stage to rapturous applause… but, wait a second, where's the man himself? It turns out he won't be summoned until everyone is chanting, clapping and has completed a Mexican wave, but the baying crowds are only too willing to oblige.
Gino appears and struts into the crowd to welcome his adoring public as 'Born This Way' by Lady Gaga booms in the background, shouting 'buongiorno' as he goes.
We head off in search of Christmas decoration inspiration, and possibly some more food…
Suitably full, we decide to take a wander through the fashion and beauty section as the crowds start to dissipate, and this is what caught Covered mag's eye:
A steady stream of exhibition-goers are now walking around beaming Cheshire cat smiles, having had their teeth whitened.
Fans of Frozen weren't disappointed with the amount of Olaf-inspired jumpers/bags/toys/basically everything knocking around.
It seemed no-one could resist a turn on the powerboards vibrating platforms, which claim to melt fat away by jiggling you about maniacally.
Tired and weary shoppers sat down to have their neck and shoulders rubbed by enthusiastic mobile masseuses, rejuvenating them so they could carry on around the exhibition hall.
As we stroll we can't stop ourselves from having a nose in the champagne bar which is overflowing with customers quaffing the finest bubbly and watching Home Alone 2 on a giant screen. We'll have to get there early tomorrow to beat the queue…
With the day coming to a close, it was time to get lost in gift land.
Perhaps unfairly overlooked during the morning because of the abundance of food (and what food!), there’s much to enjoy here.
Witness the live decoration demonstrations! (Apparently natural colours are very much ‘in’ this year).
Marvel at this legit direct-from-Lapland lodge! Complete with fondue set, it’s yours for a cool £7,200.
We were particularly impressed by this GOAAAL! Soccerball net – miffed neighbours will be a thing of the past!
This was definitely a contender for the nicest-smelling stall of the day – is it pot pourri? Is it a decoration? Well, it’s both. How ace is that?
Big lads. Big bags. ‘Nuff said.
And with that, it was time to depart gift land, and the show. Remember to come back tomorrow for more red-hot Ideal Home Show at Christmas action. It's time for us to get our heads down for some well-earned rest...